PRESS STATEMENT BY THE BOTSWANA CIVIL SOCIETY SOLIDARITY COALITION FOR ZIMBABWE (BOCISCOZ)
Regional civil society committed to monitoring Zimbabwe agreement
We, The Botswana Civil Society Solidarity Coalition for Zimbabwe (BOCISCOZ) are concerned by the current impasse relating to the political agreement signed in Zimbabwe on 15 September 2008. BOCISCOZ held a series of meetings in Gaborone on 9 and 10 October 2008, with the aim of understanding whether or not the agreement provides an option for finding a sustainable solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe.
The first meeting on the 9 October 2008 was for the BOCISCOZ movement, regional civil society, diplomatic community and the media. The meeting observed that while the agreement has some imperfections, it provides a window of opportunity for the resuscitation of economic and social recovery in Zimbabwe. Civil society organisations were therefore encouraged to identify achievable goals to enable the monitoring of the implementation of the agreement.
The second meeting on the 9 October 2008, was a public meeting for Zimbabweans in Botswana to share their thoughts on the signed agreement, with civil society leaders. The meeting explored the role of civil society organisations, the SADC, AU and UN in the interpretation and implementation of the agreement. BOCISCOZ noted with concern, the fact that some SADC countries like Mozambique and South Africa had been reported to have begun mass deportation campaigns on the basis that the agreement has been signed. Zimbabweans at this meeting expressed concern, anxiety and uncertainty at the deadlock over the formation of an inclusive government, in particular the mutually agreed upon allocation of Government Ministries.
On the 10 October 2008, a strategic planning meeting was held by the BOCISCOZ working group and the regional civil society leaders to discuss appropriate regional strategies for civil society in response to the Zimbabwe crisis.
It was agreed that;
- There is need to sensitise Zimbabweans in all SADC countries about the content of the agreement;
- Civil society organisations should lobby Humanitarian Organisations and international cooperating partners, through their Embassies and High Commissions in the respective SADC countries, to provide humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe.
- Civil society organisations should continue to lobby the SADC, African Union and United Nations to mobilise humanitarian assistance in order to avert the worsening humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in Zimbabwe; and
- There is a need to urgently identify achievable goals to enable the effective monitoring of the implementation of the agreement by regional civil society.
Recognising the urgency of the matter, BOCISCOZ therefore calls upon the SADC and AU member states to:
- Stop the deportation of Zimbabweans from their countries on the basis of the signed agreement and
- Ensure that the signed agreement is implemented. As official guarantors of the agreement, both the SADC and AU have a responsibility to execute their obligations.
15 October 2008